Thursday, December 05, 2013
'You Wish to Be Anonymous?' | Classics Illustrated #53 (1948)
George D Lipscomb and Henry Kiefer's adaptation for Classics Illustrated only gives five panels to the charitable solicitors and cuts out huge chunks of the dialogue. They don't even have time to get confused about whether Scrooge is going to contribute. He makes it very clear that he won't and they very briefly try to change his mind before they give up and leave.
It's a perfunctory presentation, which is probably the point. Part of the value of the shorter adaptations is seeing what they think is crucial to the story. Lipscomb and Kiefer wanted the solicitors so that Scrooge's wider selfishness is seen (as opposed to his narrower selfishness about Christmas), but saw no need for Dickens' nuance.
One thing this version reminds me of is that the men are "portly." That's right out of Dickens, but I glossed over it earlier. These are not people who deny themselves pleasure as a matter of habit. They're not skipping meals so that others might be fed. I think it's interesting that Dickens specifically calls that out, though he doesn't judge them for it and neither will I. Perhaps he just means to suggest that they're wealthy before they open their mouths, but I like the question that it raises even if I don't have an answer ready in response. How much should the wealthy give up for the sake of the poor?